The winter of 2013-2014 was one of the harshest ever recorded in terms of cold temperatures and snowfall totals. Unfortunately, meteorologists predict that this upcoming winter will be similar to last year’s. Let’s take a look at the ways in which it could be similar and also the ways in which it could be different.
While most of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States have had a relatively mild transition from Fall to Winter, this comfort zone won’t last much longer. The uncharacteristically high autumn temperatures aren’t necessarily a sign of things to come. They’ll give way to some very cold air and significant amounts of snow. Meteorologists predict that the northern Plains will have fluctuating temperatures throughout the winter with below average snowfall totals. The northeastern states outside of the Plains will likely once again have to deal with a significant amount of snow, ice, winds and cold temperatures.Thankfully, the worst of the winter weather won’t hit the Northeast until January and February. Residents of Northeastern states know that they’ll always have to endure snow, winds and frigid temperatures but the conditions are much easier to endure when they are limited to the last two months of the season.
Weather experts predict that snow and ice storms will once again impact some of the southern portion of the United States. These events will likely occur in the southern Plains and Tennessee Valley. Even Florida will experience some nasty winter weather. Overall, the south should expect a very wet winter.
While El Nino was significantly hyped about a decade ago, the pattern hasn’t made the headlines as frequently in recent years. Forecasters predict that an El Nino pattern will return this winter, yet it won’t be as strong as those in the past. Forecasters expect that it will create significant moisture in the Southwest of the country as well as the Southern Plains. If this pattern comes to fruition, parts of the Southwest and Southern Plains will likely experience more snowfall than is typical for the region. Specifically, parts of New Mexico (Albuquerque), western Oklahoma, Kansas and Northwestern Texas will endure above average snowfall as a result of the El Nino pattern.
Northern California and a portion of central California will continue to struggle through a drought. The same is true of the Northwestern states. They won’t see much of the moisture that is expected to impact the southern states this winter.
Another Polar Vortex?
Most Americans are curious about the possibility of another polar vortex. The same people who last Winter found themselves asking, “what is a polar vortex?” are now nervous about its chilly return. This system caused numerous winter days with temperatures below zero degrees last year. Unfortunately, the polar vortex will likely return in 2015, though it won’t cause as much havoc. Meteorologists expect that the polar vortex will emerge periodically, though it likely won’t have the same impact as last year.
Paul Pastelok, AccuWeather.com’s long range forecaster, provided these comments on the prospect of another polar vortex: “We’ll see that happening in mid-January into February…it’s not going to be the same type of situation as we saw last year, not as persistent.”This prediction is some much needed positive news for a country that was shell-shocked by last year’s incredibly cold temperatures that sometimes reached 20 degrees below zero. According to Pastelok, the intense polar vortex of last year will prove to be an anomaly. While temperatures could once again dip to those levels, they won’t do so as frequently as they did in January and February of 2014.
In terms of snowfall, it’s quite difficult to predict. Long-term forecasters expect that areas west of the I-95 corridor will experience higher than average snow totals. Along the I-95 corridor and to its east, there will be a series of “changeover systems” that will likely create some nasty wintry mixes with flurries and icy conditions. Weather experts have predicted that the Appalachians will experience higher than normal snow totals. Philadelphia will likely match its 68.9 inches of last year and New York City will also experience higher than normal snowfall.
Wherever you reside, be sure to prep your outdoor home for the winter and set yourself up for success during these colder temperatures!